Hey all,

I'm a bit confused right now about modal chord progression. To illustrate my problem; Let's take a basic vi-IV-V progression in Cmajor --> Amin-F-G. The tonal centre could evolve around A or G if I'm correct (you can emphasize a tonal centre by using Aminor scale when improvising OR G mixolydian right?).

However, this is where the problem comes. If the tonal centre in this chord progression has nothing to do with C, why is this chord progression called a vi-IV-V progression in C? Wouldn't you just call it a i-VI-VII progression in A Aeolian? Or in the case of G as a tonal centre, call it a ii-I-VII progression?

I'm probably mixing some things up, but this just bothered me earlier today. Usually I tend to write or name chord progressions on a basis of the corresponding Ionian mode.
Quote by Aetius
Hey all,

I'm a bit confused right now about modal chord progression. To illustrate my problem; Let's take a basic vi-IV-V progression in Cmajor --> Amin-F-G. The tonal centre could evolve around A or G if I'm correct (you can emphasize a tonal centre by using Aminor scale when improvising OR G mixolydian right?).

However, this is where the problem comes. If the tonal centre in this chord progression has nothing to do with C, why is this chord progression called a vi-IV-V progression in C? Wouldn't you just call it a i-VI-VII progression in A Aeolian? Or in the case of G as a tonal centre, call it a ii-I-VII progression?

I'm probably mixing some things up, but this just bothered me earlier today. Usually I tend to write or name chord progressions on a basis of the corresponding Ionian mode.

If the progression is a vi-IV-V progression in C major then modes AREN'T INVOLVED. The progression is C major so whatever you used over it is C major (because it revolves to C - that's the biggest key).
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Hmmm let's say we only have the chords; Am-F-G in that order.

Let's say I were to be given the assignment to figure out the key, I would say; vi-IV-V progression in C. But the tonal centre is NOT necessarily C, so that would mean that the key is not necessarily C, but could be in a key of A or G (A minor or G mixolydian)? Since the progression doesn't resolve to C but the G and B note of the G chord.
Quote by Aetius
Hmmm let's say we only have the chords; Am-F-G in that order.

Let's say I were to be given the assignment to figure out the key, I would say; vi-IV-V progression in C. But the tonal centre is NOT necessarily C, so that would mean that the key is not necessarily C, but could be in a key of A or G (A minor or G mixolydian)? Since the progression doesn't resolve to C but the G and B note of the G chord.
I don't have my guitar right now but I'm pretty sure that would resolve to C major very nicely considering that V-I, perfect cadence. That would make it a C major progression.

If you want to write a modal progression, it's not too hard. There's a very nice thread on it...*looks for it*...

EDIT2: By the way, ask as many questions as you have. That's what the forum's for
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Last edited by metal4all at Nov 17, 2008,
Quote by Aetius
Hey all,

I'm a bit confused right now about modal chord progression. To illustrate my problem; Let's take a basic vi-IV-V progression in Cmajor --> Amin-F-G. The tonal centre could evolve around A or G if I'm correct (you can emphasize a tonal centre by using Aminor scale when improvising OR G mixolydian right?).

However, this is where the problem comes. If the tonal centre in this chord progression has nothing to do with C, why is this chord progression called a vi-IV-V progression in C? Wouldn't you just call it a i-VI-VII progression in A Aeolian? Or in the case of G as a tonal centre, call it a ii-I-VII progression?

I'm probably mixing some things up, but this just bothered me earlier today. Usually I tend to write or name chord progressions on a basis of the corresponding Ionian mode.

Hey man,

Am F G is in Am. (All Along the Watchtower by Bob Dylan is Am G F G over and over and over and over again then finish with an Am for example.)

Being in Am you would use Am to solo over it.

You would not describe it as being in C or in relation to C. (Since as you said the tonal centre in this chord progression has nothing to do with C.)

Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Nov 17, 2008,
@metal4all

Yes the V-I would be a perfect cadence and would resolve to C. However, in this case, the Am-F-G progression doesn't resolve to C. Instead of that, it resolves to the root and 3rd of the G chord (if I'm correct) which would be G and B.

Now the thing that bothered me with the naming of this chord progression is the fact that I always come across this progression as a vi-IV-V progression in C, but it doesn't really relate to C. I always find myself improvising in the vi mode (aminor)

@20Tigers

That's what I exactly thought, and that's the reason I'm confused. Because everyone calls this progression a vi-IV-V in C, but it has nothing to do with C! So I would call it a i-VI-VII progression in A minor since Amin(pentatonic) would be the best scale to improvise in. But since the progression resolves to G, would it theoretically be possible to use G as the tonal centre and thus improvise in G mixolydian??
^ it doesn't resolve to G. G's the "last" chord. There's a difference. Besides, what do you play right after the G? An Am, am I right? When was the last time you played that and stopped at G?
Okie dokie, so I guess we know now that it's A minor (I don't have my guitar so thank you guys for pointing it out). So, yes, the A minor scale is the best thing to use.

?Pt.2- Not really...

Amin-F-G IS a i - VI - VII like you said. That means A is the tonal centre. Hypothetically, you could think of it as A Aeolian - F Lydian - G Mixolydian but that suggests 3 different tonal centres and can get confusing. In the end you're just playing the A minor scale over an A minor progression - it doesn't need to be made complex or anything.

You could use any type of minor scale Melodic, Dorian, Harmonic (my favourite ), or any other minor scale IN A (very important) for funsies.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Still the resolution from G7 - A-7 would'nt be as strong as G7 - Cmaj7.

Im not arguing (I would be a fool to do that), just musing.
^ it doesn't resolve to G. G's the "last" chord. There's a difference. Besides, what do you play right after the G? An Am, am I right? When was the last time you played that and stopped at G?

Well I just picked up my guitar, and you're right. At the end of x amount of bars, you would naturally want to resolve back to Amin, since the G would sound "unfinished", gives the same kind of feeling if you stop on G or G7 when playing I-IV-V in C. So I guess the tonal centre is A and can't be focused around G in any way. Strange thing is though, whenever I play short fast licks in G mixolydian, it doesn't feel like it's really out of place, but it doesn't sound minor in any way, even though the tonal centre is fixed around A and it's minor sound in this case.

Thank you all for the help That link you gave me metal4all, was brilliant!
If you need anything, just ask bro
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Quote by Aetius
ecause everyone calls this progression a vi-IV-V in C, but it has nothing to do with C!
I don't think everyone calls it this. You might know someone, or some people that describe it this way - but if that's the whole progression then I think you might know someone or some people that are still learning themselves.
Si
Im personally still a little confused about what constitutes a Modal Progression.

It seems to be, a one or two chord vamp to establish the tonal center of a certain mode, it avoids using to many different chords that are less modally by the mode your trying to establish. Using too many chords may make it resolve to the relative Min or the Major (because these are the two most common resolutions).

For example a Dorian Vamp, can be

G7 - D-7 - G7 - D-7 repeating.

Or a Mixolydian vamp could be

G7 - Cmaj7 - Fmaj7 - G7

Right? Or Wrong?
That's been the consensus in MT after many threads of arguing. You CAN use more than 1 or 2 chords though. As long as you make it resolve to the right place. So, I'd say, right (that last vamp may go to C major which would make it key-based/not modal but I think you were just throwing an example, idk. I might be wrong though and it may resolve to G.).
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
I wasnt to sure, if Cmaj was the first chord of that last progression, it definatley would resolve to C, but it wasnt.

The thing is, you can resolve anything to any chord, as in, simply play that chord last.

Wheather it actually convincingly resolves and feels settled is a completley different thing.

As for the examples: Apparently the main chords in a Mixolydian scale are I, bVII, and a less modally defined IV. Of course in your parent scale this is just normal I - IV - V. Which screams resolving to the I. So, how you would make those chords resolve back to the V, considering it includes the tri-tone, would seem much of an impossibility (not really).

Also, this is the same sight that stated, that Lydian chords progressions were musically incorect, because their tonic chord does not procude a feeling of resolution, which I find Bull***.

Why than, at almost any opportunity may a I chord be reharmonized as )Lydian) Maj7#11.
It's because the tonal center than generates Lydian from your current Tonic, is only one step around the circle of fifths which is a very small jump harmonically.

Through the use of Non-Diatonic Chords can resolve very wel.

For instance resolving as such: F# Dim - Fmaj7#11.

(Actually, I dont really know if that would resolve well at all!)

But my point was, that Lydian progressions are still highly feasible.
I don't know to be honest so I'm not even going to try answering. Right now I'm writing something in F# Locrian and it seems to be working out fine.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
Quote by Galvanise69
I wasnt to sure, if Cmaj was the first chord of that last progression, it definatley would resolve to C, but it wasnt.

The thing is, you can resolve anything to any chord, as in, simply play that chord last.
No no no no
That's not how it works. If a chord provides resolution that chord sounds stable and doesn't want to move anywhere else. It sounds "at rest".

Other chords by comparison will feel as though they are "pulling" or create a sense of moving away from or toward the tonic.

Sometimes a movement from one chord to another will provide a partial release of tension but will still not sound completely resolved until they get back to the tonic.

If a different chord does provide a full sense of resolution and it is not the tonic that chord is said to be "tonicized". The original tonic must then either be quickly reestablished or you will have modulated. The line that distinguishes temporary tonicization of a chord and modulation to a new tonic is blurry.

For as long as I have fully understood the concept of modes I have believed you can use any number of chords and remain modal. All you need to do is be sure to create a clear sense of where the tonic lies.

There are a number of tricks you can use. I write a lot of stuff in notebooks and the topic "creating a clear sense of tonic" comes up a lot and covers many pages. Some basic ideas are the use of cadences, repetition, and chord stability.

If you spend enough time listening, playing, and noting down your observations you will know how to create a complex chord progression using chords from G Lydian that is clearly Lydian.
Si
^ damn ****ing straight. Seriously, out of everyone here I think you've got explaining modality properly down.
^ I'll read in a min 20Tigers, you seemed to have conveniently left out part of what I wrote though.

"Wheather it actually convincingly resolves and feels settled is a completley different thing."

V - I is obviously the most Perfect resolution, I assume other resolutions dont resolve as perfectly to as that one. So my point was, just because you end a progression on E-7 chord in Cmaj, calling it a Phrygian progression was quite stupid because it doesnt neccisarily provide a feeling of resolution. So, were actually in agreement (I think..)

My problem is, what sounds resolved to somone, to somone else may need more resolution, depending on what music we have grown up listening too. So, if one person thinks it's resolved, and the other one doesn't, how are you going to classify it?

Getting it to feel like it resolves is part of making it a modal progression. Would you be able to post any of the notes you have in your notebooks?
^ if one person feels it's resolved, and another doesn't, does it matter?

Music is so tremendously subjective that you simply have to be aware of your audience and what they expect to hear, and play accordingly. You will always have people who have ears who will not comprehend and/or enjoy your playing for many reasons - a traditional musian from Bali or a gypsy fiddler would not hear resolution in a V7-I (I'm guessing in the case of the Gypsy) and it would sound terribly out of tune to an Indian carnatic preformer.
Quote by Freepower
^ damn ****ing straight. Seriously, out of everyone here I think you've got explaining modality properly down.

aw shucks thanks.

Quote by Galvanise69
20Tigers, you seemed to have conveniently left out part of what I wrote though.

"Wheather it actually convincingly resolves and feels settled is a completley different thing."
Yeah I did. Sorry about that. That sentence was driving me nuts though and I couldn't get past it.

Quote by Freepower
Music is so tremendously subjective that you simply have to be aware of your audience and what they expect to hear, and play accordingly. You will always have people who have ears who will not comprehend and/or enjoy your playing for many reasons - a traditional musian from Bali or a gypsy fiddler would not hear resolution in a V7-I (I'm guessing in the case of the Gypsy) and it would sound terribly out of tune to an Indian carnatic preformer.
I've always wondered about that. Some of the traditional eastern music sounds very dissonant and foreignto me. I've always wondered if those musicians would feel the same way about some of the classical masterpieces of western music. Would they hear it as dissonant? Would it sound foreign to them?
Si
Well, it would certainly sound foreign, and fair few cultures use different tuning systems - for example, the koto has some tunings basically the same as our pentatonic scales, some that are very much not. Indian trad music uses just intonation - so no modulation. It also has scales that are use much smaller subdivisions of the octave and has accepted musical effects that involve very small changes in pitch - similar how we bend a b3 in blues.

(I recently got the hang of using a F#+1/2# )

Anyway, you can betcher ass that some of classical masterpieces would annoy the hell out of some people around the globe. There are even plenty of people around today in Europe that cannot listen to classical music and enjoy it because they do not have the right "ears on".

I'm sure we can all give examples of music we have "grown into".

For example, I used to skip parts of Linkin Park's first album because they were too heavy, and now... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2E0ICT-z74 (seriously - how awesome is that tune? How can anything that heavy be so catchy? )
Quote by Freepower
^ damn ****ing straight. Seriously, out of everyone here I think you've got explaining modality properly down.
I agree. ...He steals the words from my fingertips
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
^ I would consult a doctor immediately, that's an extremely unusual starting place for words.

ED: except on the internets. D'oh!